(Continued from “Gleanings from Claudia: The Abiding Life – JESUS! (Part 2) Posted May 12, 2014)
I’ve thought a lot about how Jesus could so fully love the motley crew he called his disciples and by extension how he could love us. John 13 provides some clues to his rock solid love.
“It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.
The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” John 13:1-5 (emphasis mine.)
The first five verses of John 13 give us insight into what Jesus knew on that Passover night 2,000 years ago.
- Jesus knew that it was time to leave this world. All through Jesus’ ministry he has made reference to his coming death. The events he faces tomorrow are no surprise to him. And the events of this night are of utmost importance to him. The gospel of John takes all of chapters 13 through 17 to recount the teaching and actions of Jesus with his disciples on this last night with them. What he does and shares during this time together answers the rhetorical question we sometimes ask ourselves “What would you do if you knew you only had 24 hours to live?” Jesus’ answer is to pour his wisdom, love, and provision into the men he loves so much.
- Jesus knew that it was time to go to the Father. I love watching Jesus’ relationship with the Father all through his ministry. Time and again scripture tells us that Jesus goes off to a solitary place to pray. Over and over in the gospel of John Jesus affirms the strength of his connection to the Father. Jesus’ relationship with the Father is constant and intimate as demonstrated in John 12.
“For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.” John 12:49-50
Jesus is ready to return to the Father. Knowing that his return is imminent, that it is
just time away, had to be an anchor of hope and joy beyond the difficult hours ahead.
- Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power. From a human perspective every aspect of life was about to spin wildly out of control. Jesus was ready. The choice to submit in obedience to the plan he and the Father had for our salvation was already made. He made the choice before he condescended to become man. He made the choice again in the temptations in the wilderness. He made the choice again in the garden. This is no easy won redemption, but redemption won through hard fought obedience.
“Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.”
Jesus knew the Father, he knew the Father knew what was about to happen and he
knew that, in spite of appearances, the Father gave him power over all things.
- Jesus knew that he had come from God and was returning to God. There is so much in this statement. Jesus knew where he came from, he knew his identity. Jesus knew where he was going, he was returning to God. The sure knowledge of himself, his mission, and his ultimate end gave Jesus complete freedom to act in harmony with his identity and his mission. He had nothing to prove to the men he mentored except his deep love. He had nothing to prove to the Father other than his love for him.
There is one more thing that Jesus knew as evidenced in John 13:11.
“’Jesus answered, ‘A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.’ For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.” John 13:10-11
- Jesus knew who was going to betray him. I’ve already mentioned this fact, but the way that Jesus loved Judas blows me away. He could’ve forced Judas’ hand and caused him to leave the supper before he washed the men’s feet. He could’ve not even invited Judas to the Passover meal, excluding him to protect his own heart at this hour of betrayal. But he didn’t. Jesus washed the feet of the one he knew would betray him.
I want to be like Jesus. I’m so thankful for this God-man who demonstrates a perfect life. I’m in awe of one who blesses his betrayer, who looks past today and tomorrow’s adversities to what waits beyond, who is in such deep communion with God that nothing can shake him, who chooses obedience as a demonstration of love even in when obedience results in death. I want to be like Jesus.
Jesus made several promises to his disciples about the coming Holy Spirit. Those promises are for another post, but there is one promise that gives me great hope in regard to this longing to be like Jesus.
“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.” John 16:12-15
My hope for becoming like Jesus is found in the indwelling presence of his Holy Spirit, teaching me, speaking truth to me, revealing to me my true identity in Christ before the Father. Praise God for this great gift! “From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another! John 1:16”